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In this post 9-11 era, our abilities to properly respond and handle underwater criminal investigations have never been so important. Our public safety agencies responsibilities have increased to not only handle the preexisting criminal activity in our communities, but now to proactively prevent, respond to and recover from a broader range of threats from those outside as well as inside our borders. These terrorist threats come in many forms ranging from bombings, chemical exposure, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), robbery, extortion, drug dealing, kidnapping, and murder and is only limited to the imagination of those bent on our destruction. We remain a nation at risk from criminals as well as terrorist and will remain at risk for the foreseeable future. We must remain vigilant, prepared, and ready to handle crime and threats to our security in all its forms and from all directions.
One area of growing concern is found in and around our nations waterways and the handling of criminal investigations in these environments. That's where UCI comes in. UCI is the leader in underwater criminal investigation training and specializes in providing training geared towards handling the demands placed on our public safety agencies and their protective role in and around the aquatic environment.
Terrorist attacks in and around our country's waterways could involve a multitude of disciplines to include: special equipment searches (side scan, ROV, metal detectors, etc.), full-face mask diving, drysuit diving, rescue diving, emergency medical procedures, underwater crime scene investigation, body recovery, aquatic evidence collection, etc., all disciplines expertly taught by UCI. Our trained divers are prepared to handle the task of preventing, responding to and recovering from terrorist attacks.
With the current threats made on our country and to our way of life, there has never been a greater need to have properly trained and equipped Underwater Criminal Investigators ready to respond to any emergency, any criminal act, be it foreign or domestic.
Mike Berry, the founder of UCI is a highly trained and experienced police diver and has trained thousands of public safety divers from around the world on how to succeed and survive as Underwater Criminal Investigators. Mike has had the honor of being called upon to manage some of the largest and most dangerous underwater criminal investigations in the world and in the winter of 2002 and 2003 , the FBI asked Mike to lead the FBI's Anthrax diving operation in Frederick Maryland searching frozen ponds for evidence relating to that case. The operation became one of the country's largest and most dangerous public safety diving operations involving a terrorist act ever attempted due to the hazardous conditions and the size of the overall operation.
Mike invited 18 dive teams from Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC, including teams from the FBI to participate. He ended up with 12 teams who felt they had the skills to participate and 8 teams that could actually do the required ice dives. The operation was haled as a huge success through these teams efforts, skills and Mike's leadership. As a result, Mike received letters of commendation from the FBI as well as being awarded the Virginia State Police Superintendent's "Award of Merit."
In today's world of increase risk to our country's security, UCI's mission is simple:
To develop highly trained, motivated and confident Underwater Criminal Investigators capable of preventing, responding to, and recovering from criminal acts, which includes a wide spectrum of terrorist activities in and around the aquatic environment.
To do this UCI's training programs are performance-based, developed from years of first hand experience. The unique designed is geared towards molding and shaping the divers skill and comfort level in an ever changing aquatic environment. This along with the knowledge taught develops each diver into a true underwater investigator, capable of handling complex, challenging investigations in and around the water.
Having highly trained certified personnel that can proactively prevent, respond and investigate criminal activity to include terrorist acts in and around the aquatic environment is essential. This not only heightens the safety and security of our region and state, but strengthens our country's overall security measures and response capabilities.
Thank you for your interest in the security of our country's citizens. UCI wants to invite you to become part of our family; a family of dedicated professionals, committed to the protection of the citizens for which we serve. God Bless.
That's Ron Miller and Tom Black to my left. These guys were the ice diving safeties and the backbone of the overall operation. The operation's success was due to their hard work, input, and their Underwater Criminal Investigator skills. I'm proud to call them my friends.